Friday, March 16

Crêpes: lunch, dessert, raw

Besides french toast; crepes were one of the first cooking ventures I took in my life. They were so easy and tasty. Most of the time my "palatschinke" style crepes, were filled, only with a simple jam that happened to be in my fridge at the moment. I used honey and ground walnuts to create a gourmet version. At the time, I started with my cooking, there were no such things as good chocolate spreads like there are today. But I was still making crepes over and over again during my school breaks.

Crepes can be very creatively served (time wise), not only as desserts, as most people usually eat them, but also as a main course meal.
They can be made from whole wheat flour as well as white flour (thats the more typical flour used). They can be rolled/folded in different ways. The batter is important but the filling is what makes the crepe.
Usually, many people who make crepes, also have their own, unique batter recipe. If you are not a crepe expert, here is Julia Child's batter recipe, tested and known to be good. It is also the most similar to the original French crepe recipe. 

More on how to make good crepes; go to my Cooking 101 page... 

Sweet Crepes batter
(used for sweet crepe dishes)                                               

1 cup unbleached flour
1 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
1 large egg
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp melted butter (or oil)
1 1/2 cups mix of milk and water
3 tbsp brandy or other liqueur

Savoury crepes batter
(for savoury meals)
1 cup flour (unbleached)
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup water
3 eggs
pinch of salt
3 tbsp oil or melted butter

Simple spinach-feta crepes

This is my mum's recipe that she used to make for a light dinner or brunch. It's simple and still tasty and healthy.

Savoury crepes batter recipe
- made of 1/2 cup whole wheat, 1/2 unbleached flour
(instead of 1 cup of unbleached flour),
1 fresh spinach bunch chopped in thin strips

Crumbled feta cheese

Mix the batter with chopped spinach and bake like a regular crepe in a pan, little bit longer than regular crepes. Spread crumbled feta over, roll and serve. As desired, ham or some other cheese can be substituted.

Ham and cheese crepe pockets

This is very creative recipe. Many of ingredients could be substituted with others. It's up to your taste and creativity.  At the end they can also be breaded and than baked,. 

For four crepes, you need:
8 slices of good ham (prosciutto cotto)
8 slices of mozzarella or other half-soft cheese
vegetable spread
cream cheese
grilled vegetables or buscetta

Eggs and breadcrumbs for breading

Lay a crepe on a plate. Start layering in the middle: spread cream cheese, one ham slice, bruschetta, cheese slice, grilled vegetables, cheese and at the end slice of ham. Fold front part of crepe over ham, than fold sides and at the end  fold the last part of crepe. Now you have crepe pocket that can be breaded in eggs and breadcrumbs (if desired-dip in flour than eggs and brad crumbs) and than baked in a pan for couple of minutes or without breading until cheese melts inside. Serve with fresh salad.

Veggie crepe cake
(This is more like a souffle made of crepes taken again from Julia Child's cookbook)

1 lb carrots
6 tbsp butter
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp dill
1 lb fresh mushrooms
4 tbsp minced scallions
1 bunch of fresh broccoli

2 cups of grated cheese like Gruyere 

Custard mixture:
1 cup of cream cheese
6 eggs
1 cup milk
salt and pepper
pinch of nutmeg

Prepare vegetables separately. Cook carrots with dill in one pan, mushrooms with scallions in another and in a pot of boiling water cook broccoli until tender. Prepare custard mixture by mixing it in a food processor. In oiled round pan lay one crepe. Spread 1/4 of the cheese over the crepe. Cover it with cooked carrot mix, pressing them well and top with 1/3 custard. Lay over another crepe and than layer mushrooms mix over

Burnt almond-apple Crepe cake
(Gateau Mont-Saint-Michel)

I learned about this amazing cake from Julia Child's cookbook. I love crepes, I love almond and all that have little bit of marzipan taste. With my mum I would make crepes cake just by layering crepes and chocolate or honey and walnuts. This is a real gateau, with great cream and fruit that is blending perfectly in. Although this cake originally goes with apples, I can strongly recommend pears, which are my favourite baking fruits. Combination pear-almond work perfect here.
Burnt almond Cream 
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 stick (60 g) butter
2 large eggs
1 cup ground toasted almonds
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp rum or other liquor

Beat all ingredients together in a bowl. 

Apple filling
12 apples
juice f 1-2 lemons

Core and peel apples. Spread in a roasting pan tossing with sugar and lemon juice and butter if you like.
Bake at 400F/ 205 C for about twenty minutes.

Cake assembly:
Butter round baking pan. Lay one crepe, cover with layer of apples and than several spoons of almond cream. Continue with crepes, apples, cream until you use all the crepes. Finally cover it al with one more layer of apples and sugar. Bake on 375F/ 190 C for about 30 minutes.

Raw Banana Crepes with coconut vanilla cream
(no cooking required-raw food recipe inspired by Rawmagazine)

4 Bananas
juice from 1 lemon

Place bananas in food processor. Add lemon juice and process until liquid. Pour into 5″ rounds. These should only be about 1/8″ thick so spread mixture if necessary. Dehydrate overnight at 115 C. Do not over dry these.You want them to be flexible. Makes 8 – 5″ rounds

Vanilla Cream :
Pulp from two young coconuts
1 cup unsalted nuts (hazelnuts, almonds..) soaked overnight
splash of Madagascar vanilla

Place nuts in high-speed blender. Blend on high speed. Add the coconut meat and vanilla. Process until well blended. Refrigerate to get thicker crepes.
When dry, fill banana crepes with vanilla cream and enjoy.

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